Homemade Christmas Decorations

All our best Christmas decorations are home made. They’re special because we put our time and creative energy into making them, often with scraps left over from other projects.

Here are a few of my favourites –

Christmas decoration, 8 maids milking

Eight maids-a-milking from The Twelve Days of Christmas carol.

The maids are peg dollies, their skirts made from paper and doilies. The cow has his own little bell, rescued from a Lindt reindeer that was consumed a previous year 🙂


He has a nodding head, and his body is made of a plastic milk bottle. Poor thing, his legs are a bit wobbly with old age, but Rudolph’s been coming out to play every Christmas for the last 7 years, which is pretty good for something we cobbled together with papier mache and a milk bottle!

The Gingerbread House.

Shiny cardboard overload on this one! We’ve got glitter, jewels, metallic card, cotton wool, and cardboard tubes all dressed up like candy canes. So over the top – I love it!

We don’t make all our decorations, but those are the ones we ooh and aahh over every year, the ones that come with memories

We also let the girls choose a new tree decoration each year, one for each of them, and I put a little label on each one saying which year we bought it. It’s part of our lead up to Christmas ritual.

I think a lot of people do this now, and there was a lot of thought and deliberation going into the choices being made at the Garden Centre last night. The girls took nearly an hour making their decision!

What about you? Do you have any special decorations, or rituals for this time of year?



Making Mondays – Easy hamburger cupcakes

As I’m trying to catch up on my Nanowrimo wordcount this weekend – an easy post for me – how to make hamburger cupcakes with the children.

These cupcakes are the quick and easy relation of those found online here at Bakerella. I once made the Bakerella version for a party, complete with fries in a little personalised holder, but for everyday……..

how to make hamburger cupcake

…..these little cakes are SO easy.

The ingredients:

  • Cupcakes, home made or store bought,
  • Green butter icing,
  • Yellow butter icing,
  • Seedless jam,
  • Jaffa cakes, or similar chocolate cookies.

how to make hamburger cupcakes

Remove your cupcakes from their cases, and slice in half. Spread icing on the base of the cake.

easy hamburger cakes

Place the Jaffa cake or cookie on the icing, and then top with more green icing (lettuce), yellow icing (mustard) and jam (ketchup).

easy hamburger cakesThen put the top of the burger on. SO EASY.

I don’t think they’re any healthier than the real thing, but children love sweet food masquerading as something else – especially if they can make it themselves!

Have fun with it!





Making Mondays – how to make Tree Skeleton Art with the children.

As Autumn turns colder, trees are beginning to reveal their starkly bare skeletons, and it’s surprisingly easy to make beautiful art based on these natural sculptures.

This picture was made by my daughter when she was 8.

bare tree, how to make bare tree art

Fun, effective, and you may already have the ‘ingredients’ in the house – the chief ingredient being children with lots of puff! Continue reading

Sorry, can’t cook tonight, the dog ate my wooden spoon……oh, and I’ve just murdered your flask.

Family life this week….

Firstly, I killed a flask.

These are the beautiful little remains – kind of like the bottom of my Christmas bauble box (no matter how well I wrap the little suckers up!)

broken flask, broken vacuum flask

It’s not the first time I’ve murdered a flask, but it’s usually by sloppy flask-care, dropping it from a height and such. This one I killed by over cleaning, thereby proving the point that there IS such a thing as TOO MUCH CLEANING, and a flask exploding in your kitchen first thing in the morning like a firecracker could be the result.

And when I say over cleaning, I wasn’t even being particularly vigorous, just pushed the long handled brush in there a couple of times and …..BANG!…..one dead flask.

shattered flask

It later transpired that the BANG! and my scream of surprise was heard by Plumber Husband and both daughters.  Eldest and Youngest daughter assumed that since I was still standing there in the kitchen, (albeit in shock), that I was okay and no further action was required. Plumber Husband assumed that since I hadn’t called for help, I didn’t need any.

Me: “And what if I’d just been electrocuted or something?” 

Plumber Husband: “That’s okay – You’d finished my sandwiches.”

No flask of tea that day, though, MWAH HA HA!



Later on, and not to be outdone, our Bertie killed a wooden spoon.

This was a special spoon: seeped in juicy Jalfrezi sauce from our evening curry; not too hot; still a little meaty; and given to him while I was out doing my taxi driving stint. When I returned from dropping the non-paying customers at one of their many activities….this was what I found.

wooden spoon chewed up by dog He even brought it up to me.

Like a stick.

Which he doesn’t get.

Because I know how dangerous it is to give dogs sticks.

And so I had to watch him like a hawk to make sure he wasn’t sick, and the next day too.

He’s fine BTW.

black cocker spaniel, english cocker spanielAnd despite these little upsets, and the piles of laundry backed up from our week away in London, and the back log of paperwork etc etc etc…..despite all this – I’m still on target with my Nanowrimo novel. Thus proving to me that:

a)      I can make time for writing.

b)      I can make time for writing – even if family life throws a few crises my way

c)      Too much cleaning is not good for you – and might end up backfiring in your kitchen first thing in the morning!

What about you? How do you find juggling family life with writing?



Sadly, I’ve had to disable comments on this post. The spammers LOVE it! Those guys! Louis Vuitton, Raybans,those guys love me! Hope I’m not forgetting anyone!

London Loveliness – and sparklers!

Is it me, or does it look like Winter has come early to London this year?

Natural History Museum, London, Ice Rink

This is the Ice Rink outside the Natural History Museum, which opens from 2nd November to 6th January.

And how beautiful is that building anyway?

Another lovely – a trip to Hamleys – where I was very taken with these amazing cakes!

cakes, cupcakes, Candy Cakes, Hamleys, London
Made by Candy Cakes on the top floor at Hamleys.

I love London! 🙂

And since it’s November 5th – Bonfire Night……sparklers!

Guy Fawkes' Night, Guy Fawkes, sparklers

Bonfire Night, sparklers

Lovely while they last – but they never last long enough!